BEIJING, March 13 (Reuters) - London zinc prices edged lower
after hitting a fresh high in more than eight months on
Wednesday, as investors worried about ultra-tight stocks. 
    Zinc stocks in London Metal Exchange-registered warehouses
currently stand at 59,200 tonnes, their lowest since October
2007 MZNSTX-TOTAL. 
    Prices for the metal used to galvanise steel "have moved
higher on the potential for supply disruptions and very low
inventory levels," Standard Chartered said in a note.
    Floods in Australia's Queensland state last month have
disrupted rail delivery of zinc exports to the northern port of
Townsville, affecting miners, including Glencore, MMG
Ltd and South 32.
    Townsville port ships about 40 percent of Australia's zinc
production, equal to about 700,000 tonnes a year or 5 percent of
global supply.
            
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * LME ZINC: Three-month LME zinc rose as much as 0.4
percent to $2,848.50, its highest since July 2, in early trade
but was down 0.2 percent at $2,833, as of 0509 GMT. 
     * SHFE ZINC: The most-traded May zinc contract on the
Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed as much as 2.5
percent to 21,980 yuan ($3,277.91) a tonne, the highest since
April 2, 2018, before trimming gains to 2.1 percent.
    * ZINC SPREADS: The premium of cash zinc over the
three-month LME contract CMZN0-3 stood at $52 a tonne on
Tuesday, the highest since Jan. 7, underscoring tight near-term
supply for physical metal. 
    * COPPER: Benchmark LME copper edged down 0.2
percent to $6,459 a tonne as the dollar strengthened slightly,
while ShFE copper nudged up 0.1 percent to 49,330 yuan
a tonne.
    * COLUMN: Funds start buying into the copper recovery story:
Andy Home      
    * CHINA VAT: China's metal traders are betting that recently
announced manufacturing tax cuts will start in May and are
placing trades that pay off as prices diverge between the April
and May contracts.
    * TRADE: The United States and China may be in the final
weeks of discussions to hammer out a deal to ease their
tit-for-tat tariffs dispute, U.S. Trade Representative Robert
Lighthizer said on Tuesday.
    * RUSAL: Russian aluminium producer Rusal plans to
launch the second line of its Boguchansk aluminium smelter in
Siberia at the end of this month.